For Immediate Release

May 20, 2021 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation today announced the first round of $3.2 million in grants to 40 local nonprofit organizations that will help deliver the Level Up SD program to thousands of San Diego Unified students with free access to afternoon summer enrichment.

On Wednesday, May 26, San Diego Unified families will begin registering students for free summer camps and programs with some of the most sought-after organizations in San Diego, including Girls Scouts San Diego, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego, Junior Achievement of San Diego, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, Elementary Institute of Science, and La Jolla Playhouse.  

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted and worsened existing inequalities for students. Given the disruption to in person instruction and closure of youth-serving community centers and services, there is an increased need for summertime learning environments to accelerate learning and address the social-emotional needs of youth, especially for those student groups most impacted by COVID-19.

A second round of grants adding dozens more nonprofit summer programs will be announced at a news conference on May 26. Parents interested in the afternoon summer enrichment programs can visit to request an email alert when enrollment begins.

Earlier this week, San Diego Unified opened online registration for families wishing to register children for in-person morning instruction with local teachers at neighborhood schools:

The morning classroom and afternoon enrichment sessions begin June 21, the official first day of summer. Level Up SD was made possible by the San Diego Unified Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant.

The first round of Level Up SD grants includes:

Banyan Tree Educational Services – Power-Up Summer Academy
In partnership with Access Youth Academy, to provide elementary and middle school students fun and enriching activities such as individualized instruction in language arts, math, environmental awareness, career and college exploration, and fitness training.

Bayside Community Center – Garden Therapy in Linda Vista
To provide middle school students connection with the natural world, improve their self-efficacy, problem-solving and teamwork skills, and reduce stress and anxiety.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps – Ocean Connections Camp
To provide middle school students exposure to the disciplines of ocean science through scientist connections, collaborative science investigations and hands-on activities to gain insight and experience in a variety of career pathways.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego – Summer Camp 2021
To provide elementary and middle school students a safe and supportive environment where they can interact with each other and caring adults who provide a full day of hands-on activities ranging from arts & crafts, games, STEM, reading and more.

Cesar Chavez Service Clubs – Summer Enrichment Program
To provide elementary, middle and high school students with opportunities to create change in their communities and participate in youth development programming for students who have experienced disruptions to their education and lives.

Depositing Empowerment Through Outreach & Urban Development (DETOUR) – FANCY Ambassador Program
To provide middle and high school students with STEAM career experience, leadership training and a paid internship. Students will receive culturally- and gender-responsive mentoring and workforce development support and also plan and facilitate a week-long STEAM Camp.

Diamond Educational Excellence Partnership (DEEP) – Summer Readers-Future Leaders
To provide elementary school students with a learning program designed to stem summer reading loss, fuel motivation to read, enhance physical and social-emotional growth, and provide enrichment opportunities that build the background knowledge and vocabulary essential to strong readers.

Diversionary Theatre Productions, Inc. – Teen-Versionary
To bring together LGBTQA+ middle and high school students in a creative ensemble to rehearse and perform a queer-themed show, providing an outlet for self-expression, a place to build self-esteem and belief in one’s authentic self, while instilling a deeper appreciation for the performing arts and collaboration.

Elementary Institute of Science – Science Summer Camp & FIRE Up!
To provide elementary and middle school students a range of STEM subjects, reengage in learning and build STEM identities while nurturing the whole child balancing skill and socio-emotional development.

Fleet Science Center – Science Summer Camps
To provide elementary school students with opportunities for science awareness, foster positive attitudes toward science, and increase confidence in science activities through hands-on science exploration, inquiry-based learning and group activities.

Girl Scouts San Diego – Outreach Summer Learning Discovery
To provide elementary, middle and high school students with in-person and virtual summer programming focused on STEAM, health and wellness, community service, financial literacy, leadership development and character education.

Girls Inc. of San Diego County – She Leads
To provide middle and high school girls with the tools to explore identity and relationships, improve their physical and mental health, advance academic achievement and engage in current and relevant social and civic issues. Girls foster confidence and overcome social, economic and gender barriers.

Girls on the Run San Diego – Camp GOTR
To provide elementary school girls opportunities for physical, social and emotional development through fun and engaging lessons in an inclusive, interactive and fun environment that nurtures personal growth.

Guitars in the Classroom – Summer Strummers
To provide elementary school students with a safe, playful, inclusive musical learning experience, developing their self-expression, creativity and collaboration skills in a restorative environment as they learn to compose, sing and play traditional and multicultural songs and rounds with movement, percussion and ukulele.

Harmonium, Inc. – Klassic Kids
To provide elementary and middle school students with a program that promotes positive, safe environments where children can raise their confidence, explore their world, and build their social and emotional well-being through STEM, reading and writing, sports and fitness, arts, and other outdoor experiences.

International Rescue Committee – Summer REACH-4-Success
To provide refugee high school students with responsive programming that will focus on the development of English literacy and social/emotional skills. This includes activities that foster positive peer relationships and excursions that introduce youth to the civic traditions of the region, including reading and writing lessons, peer-focused leadership and team-building exercises, self-expression activities (art and spoken word), responsive academic tutoring, and field trips.

Junior Achievement of San Diego County – Summer Experiences
To provide elementary, middle and high school students with common core-aligned programs focused on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship, and connect what they learn in the classroom to what is happening in their communities and what will happen in future career pathways.

Karen Organization of San Diego – Summer STREAM
To provide elementary school students who are refugee youth from Burma with hands-on, in-person literature-based STEAM (STREAM), Sports, and SEL activities designed to provide seamless enrichment of district summer programming.

Lawrence Family Jewish Community Centers of San Diego – Camp Jaycee
To provide elementary and middle school students with social-emotional development and exploration of new and challenging activities and relationship building as well as integrity, nature, celebration, teamwork, experimentation, leadership, diversity, joy and care for the world around them and themselves.

Living Coast Discovery Center – Wildlife Day Camps
To provide elementary and middle school students with week-long, high-quality environmental education programs.

Media Arts Center San Diego – Teen Producers Project
To provide middle and high school students with digital arts training, including the production process of documentary short films. Promotes access to media arts literacy and skills development showcasing youth voices, narratives, and perspectives that are reviewed in a project-based learning environment.

Movement BE (Brave Entrepreneur) – Summer Literacy Program
To provide middle and high school students with culturally responsive academic enrichment that meets social-emotional needs. Features a poetry, spoken word, and entrepreneurship course and end-of-summer showcase with accessible reading and writing experiences, performing programs and exposure to career pathways.

Ocean Discovery Institute – Ocean Adventurers Camp
To provide elementary and middle school students with exposure to ocean science, community-building experiences, science labs, and self-reflection workshops to nurture the belief that a scientist is someone they can become.

Outdoor Outreach – Summer Adventures Youth Camp
To provide middle school students active outdoor learning activities that promote a strong sense of self-esteem, belonging, and resiliency connecting with caring adult role models and positive peer groups that support social and emotional learning and develop a connection with nature.

Outside the Lens
To provide elementary school students opportunities to amplify their voices through photography, filmmaking, storytelling and digital media, catalyzing change within themselves, their community, and the world and promoting critical thinking, problem solving and communication.

Reality Changers – Robots, Drones & AI – Oh My! – Entrepreneurship in the City – College Apps Bootcamp & Essay Writing
To provide middle and high school students with programs including STEM Robolink Camp, Career Pathways Camp, and College Apps Academy Bootcamp. The goal of the camps is to close the achievement gap, mitigate learning loss and expand socio-emotional well-being and leadership development.

Salk Institute for Biological Studies – Salk Intro to Research Science & Communication
To inspire and support high school students to pursue STEM majors and careers by providing access to skills essential to scientific research. Includes independent, virtual and in-person interactive experiences including scientific readings, data analysis, science presentation delivery and lab skills.

San Diego Air & Space Museum – Aerospace Adventures
To provide elementary and middle school students with an immersive, inclusive STEM experience designed to foster student critical thinking, creativity, and connection through a combination of student-driven, inquiry-based learning practices where students tackle hands-on engineering and design challenges, and practice reframing “failures” as a necessary step towards success.

San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Inc.
To provide elementary school students with a chance to experience ballet and the power of arts education. Community programs focus on making ballet accessible to children who may not otherwise be exposed to the performing arts and ballet.

San Diego LGBT Community Center – Summer Expedition for LGBTQ Youth
To provide LGBTQ2S+ middle and high school students with leadership tools, engaging with their well-being, building relationships, giving affirmation as well as access to STEM professions that create pathways for leadership, and mentorship.

San Diego State University Research Foundation – Sustainable Leadership Academy
To provide middle school students with fun interactive activities, field trips, and career panels with local sustainability stakeholders to increase knowledge of sustainability and attract students into STEM fields to contribute to the development of a qualified workforce in sustainability sciences.

San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory – Summer Music Enrichment
To provide middle school students with band, orchestra, and Mariachi programs and in-person instruction for all skill levels to build and rekindle peer relationships, make up for lost learning, expose students to mentors and career pathways in music, and promote social-emotional well-being through music.

SBCS (South Bay Community Services) – Camp Promise
To provide elementary and middle school students with age and grade-appropriate academic instruction as well as recreational activities and the opportunity for two weekend field trips. The goal of the program is to identify/eliminate any learning loss experienced during the pandemic, so students enter school ready to learn.

Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) San Diego, Inc. – Teen Leadership Connections Camp
To provide high school students opportunities to build resiliency by preparing them for the upcoming academic school year through opportunities that renew and cultivate supportive peer relationships, enhance youth development/leadership, and provide culturally affirming spaces to address social-emotional needs.

The Blue Heart Foundation – Summer Academy
To provide Black male middle and high school students with academic support, financial assistance, and leadership training to help them become first-generation college students through mentoring, leadership development and career development workshops with the goal of helping them complete high school and go on to college or trade school and have successful careers.

The David’s Harp Foundation, Inc. – Student Recording Studio
To provide middle and high school students with programs that help develop mentoring relationships as students trade their improved school grades and behaviors for access to a state-of-the-art recording studio. Includes culturally relevant hip-hop and electronic music production training in a safe, creative space.

La Jolla Playhouse – Devised Theatre Camp
To provide middle and high school students with an exciting, personalized exploration of community and history through docu-play theatre. Students participate in ensemble-building theatre exercises; explore elements of storytelling and stories from within their own community to understand various perspectives on a single topic; learn performance techniques and how to conduct an informational interview; and edit and revise language to create a focused piece of theatre.

transenDANCE – Holistic Summer Program
To provide elementary, middle and high school students with a holistic performing arts summer camp and class series offering social-emotional resilience curriculum and creative youth development principals to support students’ emotional and physical wellbeing.

Youth Tennis San Diego
To provide elementary and middle school students with tennis instruction to promote physical, mental, and social development. AST-trained coaches teach small groups sportsmanship, nutrition and responsibility (equipment care). Students learn tennis basics and the importance of working together, fostering self-confidence.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance – Wildlife Conservation Camp
To provide high school students with an engaging informal learning opportunity to connect with both peers and mentors as they are introduced to the international work of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. By visiting the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park and Beckman Center for Conservation Research, participants receive a 360-degree view of wildlife conservation and find ways to become allies.

About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve quality of life in our region. For more than 45 years, The Foundation and our donors have granted more than $1.3 billion to support nonprofit organizations and strengthen our San Diego community. Learn more at

About San Diego Unified School District

With some 100,000 students and approximately 14,000 employees, San Diego Unified School District is California’s second-largest school district. San Diego Unified is a leader among urban districts when it comes to academic performance, equity and financial stability. San Diego Unified has outpaced every other participating urban district in the nation on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests. San Diego Unified is a majority-minority district (53 percent Latino and African American) and nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of all students qualify for subsidized school meals based on family income. San Diego Unified is home to the largest military installation in the nation, creating unique demands on its educational programs, including its Early Learning program. San Diego Unified provides extensive wrap-around services for families. Learn more at


Theresa Nakata, The San Diego Foundation,
Maureen Magee, San Diego Unified School District,